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Make New Habits (That Will Help You Succeed at Work)

Topics: Career Advice

Let’s say you’re desperate to become a better employee — at least when it comes to how others see you. Right now, you’re always late, you never remember to bring lunch, you’re constantly misplacing important things, and you stay up too late each night so you’re constantly sleep-deprived. Not to worry. Your journey of self-improvement doesn’t have to be a complicated one. In fact, the best way to make your new good habits stick is to get simple!

new habits
(Image Credit: IntelFreePress/Flickr)

1. Start Small

Your New Year’s resolution of running five miles a day (when you barely even walk five steps) didn’t work out too well because you bit off more than you could chew. For a greater chance at success, start small and ramp up your efforts. If you choose a huge leap into new territory, you’re pretty much setting yourself up for failure. Better to change things by small degrees.

2. Give Yourself Permission to Fail (Then Try Again)

Do You Know What You're Worth?

If you’re trying on a new you, it may come as a surprise that the change feels a little icky. Maybe you decided to change the wrong thing, like trying a new flavor of ice cream that gives you the gags. It’s OK to say, “I’ve made a huge mistake” and to head back to the drawing board. If we don’t learn something from the failure, that’s the real loss, after all.

3. Set Goals Along the Way

It’s always great to celebrate the small wins. If you, say, want to get to work on time more, try setting your goal for one day a week, then increase to two, and so on. Celebrate those wins, and push on as you get closer to the optimal goal of being on time every day. Don’t just stop somewhere in the middle, because that still sends the message that you’re only sometimes on the ball.

4. Get Accountable

Like when you overshare on Facebook, you’re going to want to tell some trusted friends about your goals. Have them check in on your progress, and offer support and a “Hey did you get your report turned in on time?”. Just like when you virtually “race” friends with your step tracker, you can compete to see who’s keeping to their self-improvement goals. It’s fun when you do it together! (Well, maybe not fun, but it beats a poke in the eye.)

5. Limit Yourself! (No, Really.)

If you’re having trouble getting to work on time because putting together a work outfit takes for-EV-er, then maybe take away all those time-consuming options. Do like President Obama does and narrow your choices to streamline the day. Did you ever notice he only wears blue or black suits? It’s not because he’s unsure of whether it’s before or after Memorial Day — it’s to get dressed faster and take away those time-guzzling options. Trying to eat a better breakfast? Don’t keep those donuts around to tempt you with their sugary sweetness! Want to impress the boss by showing up early to every meeting? Don’t overschedule yourself so you’re dashing from task to task right beforehand.

In the end, only you can change you. But, to succeed, you’re going to have to cut yourself a little slack, and remember you’re human, after all.

Tell Us What You Think

What new habits do you want to start? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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